#TipsonTuesday: How to Write a Story for the EF Storybook

Photo from FitBikeCoUsing photos as inspiration is one writing prompt that can help you write your story


We are all human. We are made up of bones and veins and blood. And stories.

Knowing how to write a story can be tricky. But writing stories about loved ones can have a great impact. The Storybook on the Everlasting Footprint you create for a loved one who has died gives you a place to share some of your favorite moments with the deceased. The Storybook not only helps others understand your loved one’s life, but it helps you heal.

The question is: how can you put someone so important and dynamic on the page and do his or her life justice? Writing can be difficult, and there’s not a “best” way to learn how to write a story. While everyone’s writing process is different, three writing prompts can help make this process easier.

1. Don’t think big

You might sit in front of your computer or journal and feel overwhelmed with all the things you want to write. You might feel like you can’t possibly capture every great thing your loved one has done in one story. You can’t. And that’s ok.

Feeling pressured not only stifles your creativity, but it might stop you from wanting to write a story altogether. Trying to tell the whole story at once will cause you to leave out some of the most important parts. If you’re trying to tell everything, you may forget about the intimate details. The beautiful, quirky, human moments that make your loved one unique – they can each be the inspiration for a Story.

You can write as many stories on your loved one’s Footprint as you’d like, so don’t feel like you only have one opportunity. Sometimes writing a Story piece by piece is the best way to go.

2. Be organic

Sometimes, writers find that thinking too much can be what’s blocking them from writing a story. When writing is flowing naturally is when it’s enjoyable. That writing is the most honest and passionate. That’s how to write a story that captures your inner feelings.

A Story on your loved one’s Footprint should be organic. It should come from somewhere real, and it should be told in your own words. The Story’s main purpose is to tell others of the impact your loved one made on you and the world around you. The less you try to make it perfect and witty, the more perfect and witty it will be.

Thinking too much about writing can be stressful and distracting. When something reminds you of your loved one, record it on your phone, write yourself a note, or jot it on a scrap piece of paper. Writing a moment into a short story when it’s raw can help you capture that same emotion when you write a longer Story in the Storybook.

3. Be selfish

Write for yourself. Learn how to write a story and tell what you want to tell as you go along. Don’t worry about the rest of the world. When you sit down to write this Story, pour yourself into it. Cry if you want. Laugh if you want. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to feel. Feelings are beautiful, although sometimes they hurt.

The first step to healing is sharing feelings with others. Everlasting Footprint has created a space in which you can express your feelings and share them with others. Don’t worry what others might want you to tell. Write the Story that’s on your mind at the moment, and know that your Stories will be told forever. Having stories to tell is a good thing and sharing them is a great thing.

About Liz Grear

Liz Greer, MFA, teaches creative writing, tutors students, and dabbles in ballroom dancing, book binding, paper making, and playing hopscotch between Chicago and New Jersey. She dreams of running a writing workshop in a prison, because she believes words can change things. Maybe not all things. But enough things.

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